Speech on World Environment Day 2018

Held at Nydalsdammen, Akerselva. Pep-talk at the Akereselva World Environment Day Clean-Up event, Tuesday June 5th, 2018.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen - Welcome to this celebration of the World Environment Day! I am very pleased to see you here today. A warm welcome to colleagues and friends from the diplomatic community here in Oslo.

We are gathered by the riverbank of Akerselva. This river marked the border between Oslo's east end and west end. Oslo's first mills and factories were situated here. The river was contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Today we can swim and fish salmon here.

The river is an outstanding example of a transformation from grey to green. But not entirely, as we soon will see. The World Environment Day is the UN's most important day for engaging people to take action to protect the environment. This year's theme is Beat plastic Pollution. India is the host country.

Many celebrations take place across the globe today. Marine litter is one of our biggest, fastest growing environmental problems. Plastic waste, in all sizes from consumer products, fishing nets, and down to micro and nanoplast, threatens life in the sea. But also rivers and lakes.

Rivers are pathways for litter ending up in the ocean. Waste prevention and management is crucial to stop the leakage.

Those who produce, sell and use plastic products have a major responsibility.

My Government takes action on both these fields. Tomorrow, I have a follow-up meeting with the take-away business and large event organizers such as festivals and football events.

I will encourage stronger commitments from business, in order to reduce unnecessary single-use plastics.

The "good" thing about plastic pollution is that each and every one of us can do our share. We can use less plastics, throw away less and clean up more.

Close to one hundred thousand of volunteers along the Norwegian coast have cleaned the beaches this spring. It is a new record in beach cleaning!

Beach and riverbank cleaning prevents marine litter from entering the ocean, and the break down into micro plastics. Small actions can have big consequences. Such as our cleaning of the riverbank of Akerselva today.

We are part of a world-wide mobilisation against plastic pollution!

Thank you!

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